Caring for Children with Retinoblastoma
We dedicate this practice to all children affected by Retinoblastoma (Rb) and their families from all over the world and especially, those here in Singapore and Malaysia.
What is Retinoblastoma (Rb)?
Retinoblastoma (Rb) is a rare childhood eye cancer which affects the retina of the eye. It typically affects the child from the time the baby is conceived in the womb until the child is reaches approximately 5 years of age.
Occurring in about 1 in every 15,000 births, it is believed that Rb could be due to spontaneous genetic mutation or hereditary, capable of affecting one (unilateral) or both (bilateral) eyes. It develops rapidly and can be fatal. The disease is treatable and hence, early detection and intervention is critical for the child’s survival and preservation of his vision.
We invite you to learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of Rb, so that it can be detected early and treatment can be rendered without delay. Each of us can help to save a child’s life and his vision.
This is the most common early sign of retinoblastoma. We can easily spot this when the pupil of the eye appears white in a photograph taken with flash. Known as a white pupillary reflex (or leukocoria), when you shine a light at an Rb-infected eye, the pupil often appears white instead of pink, the normal colour.
When both eyes do not appear to look in the same direction, the child might be suffering from lazy eye (or strabismus), which is normally caused by a mild weakness of the muscles that control the eyes. However, in some of the highly rare cases, Rb had been found to be the cause.
Some of the other less common signs and symptoms include vision problems, eye pain, bleeding in the eye, redness in the white part of the eye, bulging of the eye, or the pupil does not constrict when exposed to bright light.
If you detect any of these anomalies, consult your child’s doctor right away.
Read more about the works of Dr Brenda Gallie & Dr Helen Chan: